As humans, we’re hardwired for connection; our health and wellbeing are deeply rooted in our need for community and family.
The impact of strong relationships and social attachments on the quality of our lives was beginning to be better understood. And then the Covid-19 pandemic hit, and brought with it long periods of isolation and social distancing - and a new wave of loneliness. What is it in the culture and infrastructure of our societies that’s causing us to become lonelier?
New technologies are enabling us to connect in more ways than ever before, but can also drive us further apart. What action do we need to take to rebuild companionship, re-invest in our relationships and communities, and remove the stigma of loneliness? Dr Vivek Murthy, 19th and soon to be 21st Surgeon General of the United States, is leading the way in addressing the loneliness epidemic and its long overlooked links with physical illness. Loneliness is a universal human condition, he argues. But the antidote – human connection – is also universal, and brings immense healing power.
Public services, commercial corporations and spontaneous social movements: what's the power they all lack? How might public service reform not flounder through shoehorning dynamism into a universalist and planned approach? How might businesses become genuinely socially responsible rather than merely intoning fine sounding rhetoric?